X-Force #21 Review: Population Explosion

Hey, everyone, jrpbsp here… Starting the books that actually came out this week now. First up is ‘X-Force’.  Hope you enjoy it.

X-Force #21 (preview)
Writer: Craig Kyle & Christopher Yost
Art: Clayton Crain

SPOILERS BELOW…

RECAP: The issue opens with the Vanisher, in Portugal, feeling very badly despite being in bed with three women. Realizing he really has a brain tumor, he teleports to Utopia for a cure from Elixir. Unfortunately he lands in the middle of the fight between the X-Men and the Hellions. Scott orders him to take Emma to safety but Vanisher is more concerned about Josh’s safety.

We get quick views of more X-Men fighting a bunch of newly resurrected mutants including former allies Feral, Stonewall, Super Sabre, Tower, Darkstar and Rusty Collins. Warren, Warpath and Prince Hrimhari are fighting Pyro and a couple of Morlocks. They survive the initial attack from Pyro, and Warren notes that they still feel dead, before the Techno-Organic zombies attack again.

On Genosha, Eli Bard informs Selene that he has lost contact with Doug Ramsey. The Black Queen has plans for him and orders the Hellions to find Cypher. We see Jetstream still blasting Wolverine into the air. With the recall, he drops Logan from a massive height and returns to the island. The rest of Emma’s old students break away from combat. Before Scott can have someone follow them, Banshee arrives and attacks.

Sean breaks off after a brief moment of lucidity and Scott orders the Cuckoos to find Selene. Proudstar gets knocked into Blindfold’s room and she tells him that James’ brother is waiting for him. Before he can question her, Risque shows up. She tries to restrain herself and tells Proudstar that Bard is the one who raised them. But she is forced to attack in the end.

Archangel is left alone and slices his two attackers open with his wings only to find out that the Techno-Organic mutants can repair themselves. The other Morlock is chasing Hrimhari and Rahne who is still badly suffering. They are saved by Nemesis and Laura and quickly joined by Vanisher. The injured are looking for Josh but he is still incapacitated.

In the holding facility, Leland and Shinobi Shaw are trying to kill Sebastian Shaw and Empath. Danger arrives and stops the attack but her strikes fail to kill the attackers due to their nature. Back on Genosha, Bard starts to raise all the dead mutants. His activity is detected by Bastion and the Cuckoos. The resurrections are soon in the millions.

MY TAKE: This is an action-filled issue that really manages to make you feel like the X-Men are the underdogs. It has been awhile since it seemed like they had a real and true threat to their lives. There are so many members with such a wide array of power and experience that is takes an army of villains to defeat them. That is what we get here.

There is not much time for characterizations, but Vanisher still managed to steal several scenes. I am still not sure he was the best choice for the team but he injected a lot of good humor here. Though if he did not believe there really was a tumor in his head not sure why he went along with the group for as long as he did. Still I am glad to see him back with the group.

The plot is simplistic but effective. Selene is keeping the X-Men busy, and hopefully killing a few, while engineering her Resurrection Event. Still it works well with some interesting matches and a general feeling of being overwhemed. There are also some nice tie-ins for other parts of the plot and story lines that make everything feel connected and happening at the same time.

Unfortunately the frantic pace is also the biggest weakness. The resurrections come so fast and close together that is is hard to feel any impact from them, even the ones that were not spoiled ahead of time. I have always liked the character of Rusty Collins and wanted him to come back, but by the time it came up, the scene garnered a shrug rather then a gasp.

The art was also a bit of a problem. I do like the dark and painted look most of the time, it fits very well with the over all tone of the series. But it works best when you have a small cast of characters. In this case, with so many figures, it became hard to identify them. It took me several panels, for example, to understand who was in the scene with Wolverine and Jetstream.

In the end, this was a strong and action-packed issue that really upped the ante for the Necrosha storyline. I am definitely excited about what is coming up for this story and do hope some of these characters get to stay around after the end. I do hope they slow the pace of the resurrections and it becomes a bit clearer what is going on. But so far the story is very good and the next issue looks to be excellent.

Thanks for reading my review for Wolverine Files. I will be keeping to this format for the most part but please keep the comments coming and I will see everyone again next time.

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